Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Fantasy Character Names


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Best Character Names - and I'll be spotlighting some of my favorite fantasy names.

From The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore


Zaknafein


Jarlaxle


Guenhwyvar

From The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


Eowyn


Faramir


Aragorn

From  A Song of Ice and Fire



Tyrion


Daenerys

From Discworld by Terry Pratchett


Vetinari

From Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas



Chaol


Do you like any of these names?  What are some of your favorite character names?  As always, thanks as always for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Peril in the Old Country (Terribly Serious Darkness #1) by Sam Hooker (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Terrors lurk in the Old Country from goblins, bloodthirsty cannibals from nearby Carpathia, nefarious secret societies, to bloodless murder victims. Then there are the government agencies that might take you in for "questioning" in the middle of the night. Sloot can barely keep himself from drowning in the sense of doom that saturates the Old Country. Any minute could be his last, but now things are looking worse than ever as he's been ordered to correct a ghastly financial statement. It's almost certain that this will lead to Sloot's grisly death, but that probably isn't the worst thing that could happen.

I have a feeling that if you like Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, you'll also like the tone and style of Peril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker. I loved the dark, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Sloot is something like a mild mannered Arthur Dent sort of character who gets thrown into a whole new world that is nothing like what he's used to. He gets thrown into more and more ridiculous and terrible events and he has to deal with all of these changes to his life now. Unfortunately, the humor doesn't always quite work or flow as well as I would like it to, but the absurdly dark sense of humor is one of my favorite aspects. I also loved some of the ridiculous (in a good way) details that go into the story. I know that this style won't be for everyone, but it's still quite a bit of fun in my opinion. I will definitely want to try the future installments of the Terribly Serious Darkness series.



Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC from May 16 - 17, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsPeril in the Old Country by Sam Hooker will be released on June 5th, 2018.

Music Monday: BTS


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

So I've heard of BTS, the K-Pop boy band for a while now and I know a lot of people love their music.  Somehow, though, I'd never managed to hear any of their songs until this past weekend when I decided to get out from under that rock.  The first song I tried was their newest release called "Fake Love" which was trending at #1 on YouTube on Saturday.  While it's not my usual style at all, their sound is pretty addictive - and they're great dancers - and the cinematography and editing in the video is good.  Next up I listened to their first song from 2013 called "No More Dream".  I can easily see how much younger they look.  I think I'll have to try more of their music in the future.





Saturday, May 19, 2018

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tella and Scarlett should be celebrating the end of Caravel - after all Tella finally escaped her father and she saved her sister from an arranged marriage - yet Tella still isn't truly free. Out of desperation, she's made a deal with a criminal and she owes him Legend's, the master of Caraval's, real name which is something that no one has ever been able figure out. Tella only has one chance to figure out his name and that is by winning the next round of Caraval, usually that would be next year but now the schedule has been has been bumped up. She's still reeling from the events of the last one before she's thrown right back into it. Caraval asks a lot of its players, and this time is different, but for Tella the stakes are greater than ever. In fact, if Tella loses and fails to uphold her end of the bargain she'll lose everything and everyone she cares about, but if she wins Caraval and Legend himself will be destroyed forever.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber is a fantastically imaginative sequel to last year's Caraval, but this time around the stakes are higher than the first time around and more personal. This time around we get to see another round of the game, but now it's much different game altogether. There's a whole new setting, a whole new magical mystery to get wrapped up in, and so many dark twists and turns to wrap your head around. In this sequel, we follow the story from Tella's perspective rather than Scarlett's. Like the first time around, Tella kind of grated on nerves. I don't know if I'm getting old or what. Either way, there are times where she doesn't make the brightest decisions out there. Though I will agree that she has grown as a character over the course of the series, like she says she isn't a silly little girl, but she definitely has a lot quite a bit of growing up to do. One of my favorite aspects in this novel is that we get to find out a little more about the wider world these two sisters inhabit, especially in regards to the fantasy elements like the Fates and the Deck of Destiny.

Overall, Legendary is a more than worthy sequel to Stephanie Garber's debut novel. I love being engrossed in an intricately twisted world where you're never quite sure sure what's real at any given time. If you enjoyed Caraval, I expect you'll want to devour book two as soon as you can. I also expect you'll want to try this series if you liked The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Garber has such a way with words that I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation throughout. After that ending I'm absolutely dying for the third book in this series, Finale!

Thanks again, NetGalley!  I read this ARC from May 12 - 14, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsLegendary by Stephanie Garber will be released on May 29th, 2018.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi + 50/50 Friday




On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.


This week I'm spotlighting one of my current reads which is also on of my most highly anticipated reads of the year, Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi.  I'm not that far through yet, but so far I'm already hooked - it's totally living up the hype so far! 


Beginning: 

Pick me.

It's all I can do not to scream.  I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting.  Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can't tell if it's from dawn's early heat or from my heart slamming against my chest.  Moon after moon I've been passed over.

Today can't be the same.

56:

I open the purse and the sight is beautiful I nearly cry.  The silver shines like the scales of the sailfish, its weight a promise of things to come.  Five hundred!  After a new boat, that's almost a year's worth of rest for Baba.  Finally.

50/50 Friday: Book You Can/ Can't Bring Yourself To Reread


Can - Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - I don't reread often at all, but every now and then I go back and reread a small part of this series.


Can't - Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan - I loved this creative vampire series in my younger days, but I'm kind of scared to revisit it because what if it doesn't live up to my memories.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Cliff is a 6'6" and 250 pound loser, in fact his nickname at school is Neanderthal. He has no one in his corner and everything has gone bad to worse since his older brother's suicide last year. Cliff can't stand the star quarterback, Aaron. When Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience, he says that he saw God when he was out of it. The real kicker is that God gave Aaron a to-do list to make Happy Valley High suck less - and that he needs to help Neanderthal. No one is more surprised than Cliff himself when he agrees to help Aaron with the list which features everything from a vindictive English teacher, a mysterious computer hacker, a decidedly unchristian cult of Jesus Teens, the local drug dealers, and the meanest bully at the school. For the first time since he lost his brother, Cliff feels like he's part of something bigger than himself. Fixing a screwed up school isn't as easy as it looks and as soon as Cliff think they've completed the list, he realizes their mission hits much closer to home than he expected.

I'm so glad I found Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton. YA Contemporary isn't usually my go-to genre choice, but this new novel is a compelling must-read. Cliff is now one of my favorite leading guys in YA. He's been dealt a crappy hand in life and he's so fed up by everything, but he hasn't given in and has hope for the future. After all with Aaron, he begins to try to put make seemingly small changes in order to enact bigger, positive change at their school and in their own lives. Another one of my favorite things about Cliff is his sense of humor. I mean, sometimes his inner monologue is laugh out loud funny - if crude at times. The author does a brilliant job of developing his cast of characters from the main characters and the supporting characters, but Cliff himself is for me the most compelling. I felt an entire spectrum of emotions for him from misty-eyed sadness, red-hot anger, to uplifting hope.

Overall, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe is an absolute must for fans of brutally honest, yet ultimately hopeful, funny, and relatable YA Contemporary with a well-written cast. If you're interested in the work and writing style of John Green and Andrew Smith, you may enjoy Preston Norton's style. I will definitely have to check into Norton's other releases and his future projects.

Thanks again, NetGalley!


I read this ARC from May 14 - 15, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.  Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe will be released on June 5th, 2018.

Blood Ghast Blues (Black Box Inc. #2) by Jake Bible (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The next victim of gorily destructive demons is the One Guy, a major extradimensional crime lord. If he wants to survive a fate worse than death at their hands, the One Guy will have to go to Black Box Inc. to save him. Chase and his team at Black Box Inc. - Lassa, omnisexual yeti; Harper, an ex-Fae assassin; and Sharon, a business savvy zombie—will have to get the One Guy to Washington, D. C.'s Department of Extradimensional Affairs and get him into protective custody. First they'll just have to keep ahead of the blood ghasts, dimentionalist rednecks, vengeance-seeking kobolds, and his many other enemies, including Chase himself who knows first hand that you can’t trust the One Guy as far as you can throw him.

I was so happy to be approved for the sequel to Black Box Inc. because book one is just so much fun. Luckily, Blood Ghast Blues really lived up to my expectations. Jake Bible's brand of urban fantasy is quite unique as it deals with a wide variety creatures coming into our world via portals from other dimensions. He does a fantastic job writing butt kicking action scenes, cool worldbuilding, and awesome characters and dialogue. As cool as the magic system is in Chase's Asheville, North Carolina, the characters really make this story. I love the team at Black Box Inc. Everyone plays off of each other really well, the dialogue and banter is topnotch, and, even better, each player brings something special to the team. By the way, since I've been watching the tv series Lucifer I can't help but to compare Harper to Maze - and if that alone doesn't want to make you pick up this series I don't know what will. Finally, while technically this is the second book in a series, it is also described as a standalone sequel. You don't necessarily have to have read book one before jumping in here, but it's just all the better to already be familiar with the world and characters.

Blood Ghast Blues (Black Box Inc. #2) by Jake Bible is a fantastic new installment of an epic new urban fantasy series. If you're a fan of Lucifer, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, I have a feeling you'll want to meet Chase Lawter and his crew at Black Box Inc. Since this is a standalone installment of the series, you don't already need to be familiar with the story before jumping in here. New a fun, fast-paced new urban fantasy series, then look no further. I hope we get to see more of Chase, Lassa, Harper, and Sharon in the future.



Thanks again, NetGalley!  I read this ARC from May 7 - 12, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsBlood Ghast Blues by Jake Bible was released on April 13, 2018.